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05.07.2005 General News

Strike Threat Looms


That the NPP Government is at its wits end as far as the labour front is concerned is amply demonstrated by the Cabinet Memorandum by the J. H. Mensah Oversight Committee of Cabinet in its report to Cabinet detailing the outcome of deliberations of its meeting of June 7, 2005.

The Memorandum, the possession by Senior Journalist Kwesi Pratt Jnr of which has infuriated the NPP Government so much so that the Police CID has been sent to interrogate him, contains a report that some members of the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) are planning strike actions in connection with their demand for salary increases.

The Memorandum names the organizations whose members are poised for the imminent strike action as including the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), National Board for Small Scale Enterprises (sic) (Industries?) (NBSSI), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Electoral commission (EC), Value Added Tax (VAT) Service and the Sports College.

The Memorandum noted that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning had authorized the beginning of negotiations with the workers based on their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs).

Labour front watchers have noted that the NPP Government is out to deceive the workers yet again. They note that being June, plans have already started for the preparation of the 2006 Budget, and the major macro-parameters, including the indicative total wage bill for 2006, have already been determined.

To commence negotiations at this stage means one or all of three things:

( i ) Whatever is decided at the end of the day can only be for 2006, not 2005;

( ii ) The percentage increase for 2006 has already been determined;

(iii ) Workers would not have been compensated for the outrageous 50% increase in petroleum prices and the increased cost of living generally.

The labour front watchers are amazed that in the face of this brazen effrontery by the Government, closet NPP member Kwasi Adu-Amankwa, the TUC Secretary-General, has managed to hold on to his position and there has been no call for a nationwide General Strike yet.